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  1. ICE Head Morton at the AILA Conference in San Diego, CA

    This year the American Immigration Lawyers Association National conference is being held in San Diego. Just a few blocks from our down town office, you can see thousands of Immigration lawyers gather to socialize, learn and advance our profession.
    Yesterday, ICE head John Morton, opened with an discussion about ICE's activity and future plans. ICE released new IDENT statistics that show immigrants with low level offenses account for a large number of those caught in the dragnet created by Secure Communities.
    Of 477,035 matches, 71, 197 have been identified as level 1 offenders, while 405,838 were identified as level 2 and level 3, between October 2008 and February 2011.
    Meanwhile, of the 405,838 level 2 and level 3 matches, 52,603 individuals were identified as non-criminals booked into ICE custody, while 24,884 level 2 offenders and 49,019 level 3 offenders were booked.
    According to ICE, "deployment continues to be the primary driver for increased identifications."
    Secure Communities, which relies on police in local jails to enter prints of those they arrest into a joint FBI and ICE database, is currently active in 1,123 jurisdictions in 40 states. ICE plans to enroll 488 more jurisdictions by the end of FY 2011 with a goal of total deployment in 2013.
    When former AILA president offered Morton the Support Secure Communities badge, he kindly declined)
    He also stated that his own mother is still a Green Card holder after many years living in the US. He was also born outside of the US.
    Keeping you posted tomorrow..

  2. Bloggings: How much longer can Obama and the Democrats get away with taking immigrants for granted? by Roger Algase

    Accotding to a June 16 article in the Huffington Post "DREAM Act Supporters: Democrats Shouldn't Count On US In 2012" (see 06/16 ID), DREAM Act advocates are getting fed up with the lukewarm support  they have been getting from the Democratic party. In December, 2010, five "centrist" Democrats joined Senate Republicans to vote against cutting off debate on the DREAM Act bill. Another Democratic Senator did not vote. The bill failed to survive a Republican filibuster by exactly five votes. (Three Republicans had the courage to defy their own party and voted with the majority of Democrats to end the filibuster).
    The White House, which did nothing to put pressure on the Democrats who refused to support the DREAM Act, is now reportedly deporting student activists who would have been eligible for relief under the DREAM Act if it had passed.  The DREAM Act, of course, is just one of many examples of President Obama's betrayal of the immigrants whom he had promised as a candidate to protect against being made scapegoats. Instead of the DREAM Act, Obama and his enforcement-only obsessed DHS officials have given immigrants and their supporters a series of nightmares - "Secure Communities", E-Verify and INA Section 287(g) agreements with local officials.
    This raises the question why immigrants and their advocates are only now, six months after the DREAM Act fiasco, starting to make noises about the betrayal by the Obama administration. Cowed by the thought of a Republican takeover, which might effectively end all further immigration and lead to the roundup, internment and expulsion of the 12 million mainly Latinos and Asians who are currently estimated to be in the US without authorization (while America's jails fill up with employers and other US citizens who have violated draconian compliance regulations), immigrants and their advocates have been willing for far too long to give Obama a pass on the theory that he is the lesser of two evils.
    What is needed is a focused pro-immigrant movement, similar to the Tea party movement on the other side, within the Democratic party - or outside of it. Just as the Tea Party has put its own ideological "purity" ahead of winning elections, and as a result has become a major political power in the service of Fox News, the Koch brothers and its other well heeled corporate backers, immigrants and their supporters need to make their voices heard, even if it means bringing down a president who cannot possibly DREAM of being reelected without the suport of Latino and other minority voters.
    When immigration supporters finally show that they are serious, then we will start to hear a great deal less from this administration about monstrosities like "Secure Communities", E-Verify and 287(g), and a great deal more about immigrant rights.
  3. NY Times: Congress Moving Forward With Smaller Measures

    by , 06-16-2011 at 11:53 AM (Greg Siskind on Immigration Law and Policy)
    Regular readers of this blog know that I tend to be a pragmatist on immigration reform and that while a comprehensive solution is ideal, politically it is just not possible. Looks like Republicans and Democrats are starting to understand that accepting lesser change is better than more deadlock.
  4. Reporting from the AILA 2011 Meeting in San Diego

    by , 06-16-2011 at 10:56 AM (Greg Siskind on Immigration Law and Policy)
    Nearly 3000 immigration lawyers from around the US are attending the annual meeting of the American Immigration Lawyers Association meeting in San Diego and I'm here as I've been for the last 20 years. I spoke last night on a panel entitled 10 Things I Wish I Knew Before I Started Practicing Immigration Law. Of course, I could come up with a list a lot longer than that, but tried to pick a few that some of the younger lawyers out there might find helpful.
    I'm going to blog breaking news here and will start with live blogging a session I'm now attending with USCIS Director Alejandro Mayorkas.
    - He's telling several immigrant success stories and stressing the US as the world's beacon of light. President Obama is committed to keeping American safe while maintaining the spirit of our immigration history.
    - Aspirations of US immigration system in the hands of USCIS and how they exercise that care is of immense importance.
    - Proud of USCIS colleagues, but committed to addressing the challenges.
    - 150,000 customers reached through its engagements
    - Posting dozens of memoranda for public comment.
    - Posting on a quarterly basis statistics on receipts and approvals for various visa categories.
    - Hiring 19 additional AAO offices so appeals can go faster.
    - EB-5 - premium processing, interviews with expert panels coming soon
    - Direct real time contact between applicants and USCIS officials; potential for faster and easier adjudication of cases, but concerns about abuse. They'll be studying how this goes.
    - Less fortunate should have lesser access because they lack a lawyer.
    - USCIS will go mobile bringing computers and personnel to remote communities. AILA urged to provide pro bono representation to many of these individuals.
    - USCIS is committed to combatting unauthorized practice of immigration law; "historic, sustained effort" with many agencies cooperating. Slogan: "The Wrong Help Can Hurt".
    - Transformation - USCIS modernization program to move from paper to streamlined electronic system; I-539 coming in December. Faster this happens, the greater the efficiencies and the realization of tremendous savings.
    - Prioritization of protecting integrity of immigration system can co-exist with tradition of having a welcoming system.
    - Redesign of training system for officers. Enhance training of adjudicators on intent of the law and the standard of proof to be applied. Industry experts will advise officers. This will cut down on flawed Requests for Evidence. New templates being developed.
    - Kazarian memo to be discussed tomorrow in USCIS Open Forum.
  5. ICE Launches 1,000 I-9 Investigations Nationally

    by , 06-16-2011 at 10:18 AM (Greg Siskind on Immigration Law and Policy)
    More desktop raids. Those who think we don't enforce our immigration laws are just not paying attention.
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